HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) Explained: What Is It?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 11, 2021
What is HHC?
What is HHC?

The newest drug on the market is a substance that’s derived from the cannabis plant. Called “HHC,” it’s a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is said to have a wide range of health benefits. But what exactly is HHC? What does it do? And does it work?

What Is HHC?

HHC is a medicinal compound that is extracted from the cannabis plant. It is non-psychoactive, but still contains cannabinoids such as THC. This means it’s only available in select states in the United States (a link to them is below). Potency The concentration of HHC varies among different states. In Texas, for instance, HHC is only sold in oil form, whereas in Oregon and California, a leaf version of HHC is available. Both states also have different THC levels (17 and 20%), with the majority having anywhere between 2% and 15% THC. Medical Uses HHC is known to relieve pain, improve sleep, reduce anxiety and epileptic seizures. It has also been linked with benefits in anti-tumor, blood-related and anti-malarial therapy.

What Does It Do?

HHC is essentially a THC-like substance that binds to cannabinoid receptors, which are essentially responsible for the effects of THC. As of now, there is no scientific evidence to support the medical use of HHC.

How Does HHC Work?

HHC, a chemical compound, is extracted from the hemp plant, the same plant that produces marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug, the reason it’s referred to as a “synthetic” drug is that there’s no THC in the hemp plant. What you’ll find in the plant are cannabidiols (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). What is the difference between the two? THC is the compound in marijuana that causes the high. The difference between THC and CBD, on the other hand, is that CBD has very little, if any, psychoactive properties. The extract, HHC, has a little bit of both. So how does it work? The effects of HHC on the body are quite varied and it’s not something to smoke or even snort. Instead, the compound is consumed as an edible.


Additional Information and Research

One thing you should know about HHC before you try it for yourself is that its name is a mouthful. So instead of just talking about HHC, let’s just call it CBD for short (which would make it hemp extract). But that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Also, hemp extract sounds a bit much to us, as we already use the word hemp so often, and hemp extract sounds a bit synthetic. So to us, it just sounds a little weird. But then again, HHC is sometimes marketed to people under the word cannabis, which also sounds pretty strange. But let’s get back to the HHC you’re most likely already familiar with. That would be the THC. The H in HHC is short for Hexahydrocannabinol, which is the compound that makes you feel high. And it’s the first compound that shows up in marijuana.